…with songs they have sung, for 1000 years

Whahoo!

My bees are alive!

(with the sound of buzz-ing)

We had an extreme cold snap (relative, very relative) here with a -20C night.  I didn’t think they’d made it.  I kind of had a feeling.  I’m really on the fence whether this hive will make it through their first winter.  Neither death nor survival will surprise me.

They had honey, but such small numbers….luck, chance, and the weather all have to weigh in before the winter’s out.

After that cold night – brrrr!  I couldn’t hear anything when I pressed my ear to the front of the box.  The wind was whistling hard, but still.

We’ve had a warm snap.  The kind where the above freezing temps suddenly expose all the old dog bones and buckets that blew away and random flagging tape on the ground, and you’re wishing for a snow asap to cover it all up again.

Today-lively humming.

The Mighty Vole Hunter

The snow is deep, but the voles should not feel relaxed.

The Mighty Vole Hunter rests not in the winter.2016-01-21 14.40.02 2016-01-21 14.39.23 2016-01-21 14.39.46

I don’t know if he hears them mousing around or smells them, but without warning, he will suddenly leap in the air off the path and come down, plunging his head into the snow and sometimes snuffle-plowing around for a while.

Depending on the surface of the snow, he may smack the crust with a paw to crack it, and then thrust his head in and burrow around.

If he’s lucky, he comes up masticating ostentatiously with disgusting crunching sounds, tails or feet hanging out the side of his mouth.  EWW!

If the vole’s lucky, he comes up only with a face full of snow.

He is really very good at hunting voles.  As good as a cat.  He gets one almost every day, sometimes two.   In the “grassy” wasteland adjoining the Walmart parking lot, of all places, he caught the vole of voles, a trophy the size of a squirrel!  Proving some things are flourishing around Walmart.

Sometimes the vole escapes.  Yesterday he flipped the tiniest of voles out of the snow next to the path.  Somehow, it escaped between his back legs, flopping around while he was looking under his front paws- Where’d it go?

Barely two inches long, it righted itself and darted to take refuge- under my boot, where I stood behind him.    I saw the tail slip in under my foot and was standing there thinking  Seriously?  Is it hiding?  Under my foot?  Yep.  I lifted my boot and it dashed away a second time, while Snowy snuffled around mystified.  It was right here.  I had it!

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What we want to know is: Does he keep his eyes open under the snow?

bird feeder sightings

Can you see the rabbit?  Right of center.  The rabbits are light grey now, very cute.

The squirrels are regular patrons, and I even saw a vole out on top of the snow harvesting.  It ran down the hole in the snow around a trunk of tree.

Squirrels, rabbits, birds and voles – It’s a regular multi-class buffet around the bird feeder these days.  The dog wants a handful of Spitz at every feeder filling too  – nomnomnom.

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What? We’re birds!

 

 

winter storm

Yikes, we are in the middle of a rain and wind weather event in the Maritimes. 90km gusts and torrents of rain.

It’s nice to be snug and cozy in the tiny cabin while the wind shakes us and roars and howls, but you never know what could blow loose or break in a big storm.  This is sure to take out the power in places around us, but we’ll never notice.

The greenhouse has held up to all the weather we’ve seen so far so hopefully it can take this too.  All the chickens in their coops  are snug in there and the beehive is lashed down.  I hope the wild birds are all gripped on tight to resilient branches tonight.

This is a doozy.

Rooster snoozing

I’ve come to a conclusion.

The rooster’s vigorous crowing in the morning is not an announcement that all things chicken are ready to emerge and meet the day;  Let us out!

It’s more like a snooze alarm, that the hens are champions at sleeping through.

I’ve always thought that the chickens were crazy to be ready to go that early.  But they aren’t.  The rooster is just premature.

If I go let them out while it’s still dark, the roosters may have been going at it for nearly two hours, but the hens will bumble out slow and dopey, or just not come out.  They’re still sleepy, serenely ignoring that loudmouth coop crier.

Hit snooze again… just one more snooze…maybe one more…

Dawn Snow Chicken

On the way to the greenhouse in the morning, to let the hens out of the coop, I was surprised to find one lone, chilly chicken outside already.

What the heck?  Obviously she roosted in the pine tree for the night, and it seems a rabbit came by as well.  It’s just strange that she chose to leave the greenhouse at all yesterday, let alone not return to the coop.

The greenhouse was  open a few hours in the afternoon, and other than a quick novelty excursion to eat some snow, now that there’s a snow pack the birds generally choose to stay in the warmer greenhouse all on their own.

Except for this one.

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She wasn’t sorry to stay under the tree, either, making no moves to go back to the greenhouse even after her sisters started up the food noises.  With the “help” of the dog, and cutting well cut up by the brambles around the tree, I caught her, stuck her in my coat, and repatriated her.